Austin Zoo debuts renovated reptile exhibit May 11

Austin Zoo is holding a grand reopening celebration for its renovated reptile and amphibian Discovery Center from 11 a.m.–noon May 11, director Patti Clark said.

The zoo gutted the center in February to do roughly $30,000 worth of HVAC, duct work, insulation and remodeling. All expenses were paid through grants, donations and cash expenditures.

The old floor plan had small reptiles and amphibians on public display but none of the zoo's resident large reptiles.

The renovated center redesigns the small reptile room and opens up a new, previously off-limits room for the larger reptiles to be displayed.

All of the animals and reptiles on display at the zoo are former rescues, and many were former pets that were improperly cared for prior to being acquired by the zoo, Clark said.

The new displays will include:

  • Lizzy, a Savannah Monitor that was found abandoned in an empty apartment.
  • Limon, a Leopard Gecko that was surrendered to the zoo when the owner could no longer care for him.
  • Missy, a red-tailed boa that was surrendered to the zoo when her owner could no longer keep her due to her size.

"We want to educate the public and also remind them that maybe it is not a good idea to purchase an exotic animal as a pet," Clark said.

Some of the reptiles will make their first public appearances outside of their tanks when zookeepers bring them out to meet the public at the event, Clark said.


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